Thursday, November 4, 2010

Activity Feed Widget

We now have a new widget for communities, the activity feed. This widget allows you to embed a scrolling list of the latest activities happening on the community. You can check it out on the community widget page, it is widget #2.

Some Main Menu Additions

We have added some handy links to the main menu. The "community", "project", "stories" and "map" items now have a "my ..." entry in their dropdown menu. This provides a quick way to look at your own communities, projects, stories or map.

The "map" dropdown menu is also aware of its context, so, for instance, if you are on a community home page, then there will be an item called "map for this community" so you can quickly go to the community map.

A New Home Page

We have put together a new home page, which is designed to showcase content from across the system. When you are logged in, it is the page you go to when clicking any of the PlaceStories logos (ie, it is the page at the root url). When you are not logged in, the landing page with the collection of dolls is the root url, but you can go to the new home page still by clicking the "home" link at the bottom.

This new page will evolve over the next short period of time, so any input is welcome.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Lot of Has Been Going On!

Wow, it's been a couple of months since the last post, and a lot of new code has been written! You may have noticed the site has undergone a whole new redesign, new colours, new layout, and new features. We hope you find the changes visually pleasing.

Also of note in recent times has been the addition of "project featuring" - simply browse the projects for a community, and you will see a "Feature Project" or "Unfeature Project" option in the context menu. This is for community admins only. Featured projects can be viewed in the project carousel on the community home page. And remember, you can also set the default view mode of this carousel in community settings (it doesn't always have to be "latest" initially).

Another cool widget has just been written. It's the community and project "like badges". A simple badge (not too dissimilar to its facebook counterpart) you can embed on your own website that says you really like this community or project, and the user can quickly click the link and go there and check it out more for themselves. If you go to the widgets page for your community or project, you will find it as the first widget on the page. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Email Control In User Settings

A handy new feature that we feel a lot of users will like is the ability to control emails sent to you that are triggered by various actions in the system. For example, when a story is added to a project, an email is sent to all members of the project.

What we have added is a user settings section called "Notifications". Here you can elect to compress your emails into a daily digest, or even turn off emails completely.

Into the future we will allow more fine-tuning of what emails you get (ie, for every action in the system that sends an email will be switchable by the user). At the moment, it is all or nothing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A New Main Menu Feature

You may notice now that when you hover over the "create" item in the main menu you get a dropdown menu with selections for story and project. Previously there was no menu and clicking the menu item took you to a story create wizard. Creating a new project was a feature that was more difficult to get to.

In the future we may allow users to create their own communities as well, and that option would then appear in this menu.

Project Page Enhancements

OK, we now have some more improvements on the project page.

In the story list, you can see at a glance the type of story each entry is. This currently is a short piece of text in square brackets (eg [YouTube]) beneath the creators' name. We are currently working on a better way to differentiate stories visually, but this is it for now. Next to this text is a link called "preview!". This is a cool new feature - you can view a story inplace without having to go to the story page. It slides down a viewing area beneath the story description and plays the story for you straight away. If you are near the bottom of the browser window it will scroll upwards just enough to view the entire story window. You can hide the previewer by clicking the cross in the right hand corner of the previewer, or by clicking the "preview!" link again.

Another change is we have moved away from the old style visibility badges for stories (basically the word "public", "community" or "private" with a coloured background) to a thin coloured strip that sits beneath the story image. You can still click on this strip to change the story visibility. This may not be our final solution to representing this information elegantly, but it will do for now.

The member list has some new features too. Each member has an action menu you can activate when hovering over a member. A down arrow button appears in the rhs corner - click this to get a menu of actions that relate to that user. This menu contains our first attempt to create stronger connection links to other users. At the bottom of the menu you will see a section called "Connect With This Member" - this section contains links to all the different social media this user has. Everything from a simple message, to skype, to facebook etc etc. We aim to have this kind of connection to a user everywhere it makes sense. PlaceStories wants its users to make full use of their other social media in interesting and elegant ways and features like this should go a long way to helping us achieve this.

Another feature you will find useful is a "Members" page in project settings. This looks a lot like the members tab in the Project Create wizard. It allows you to add and remove members from your project quickly and easily, as well as change their status (admin vs member).